Along Came A Spider

"Weak"

Along Came A Spider Review


When you think "movie franchise," you think Harrison Ford or maybe Eddie Murphy... but Morgan Freeman? Yet, with the middling $60 million take of 1997's Kiss the Girls, the low-key, dependable actor returns as Dr. Alex Cross, in another try at a psycho thriller. Sadly, Freeman's the only point of interest in this one. Kiss the Girls was average at best -- Along Came A Spider should aspire to such heights.

Both films are based on James Patterson novels, where the good Doctor (detective, psychologist, author, hostage negotiator, model boat builder... good Lord) chases down some scary guy who's either a kidnapper, a murderer, or both. Here, our culprit is a teacher (Michael Wincott) at a D.C. prep school for kids that require Secret Service detail. He conducts his entire teaching career incognito, and then snatches the young daughter of a generic U.S. Congressman (Michael Moriarty).

One of the more vital secrets in a psychological mystery like this should be: Why is the madman doing this? By keeping this fact at bay, and perhaps even creating an inviting puzzle, a filmmaker can heighten tension and develop characters. First-time screenwriter Marc Moss and director Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors) decide that isn't really necessary. So, the result is a bad guy causing evil evidently because his parents weren't there for him. Now that's creative!

Moss' dialogue is no help. It's strictly cookie-cutter formula, made all the sillier by Jerry Goldsmith's overblown theme music. Both the script and the orchestra are supposed to make us raise our eyebrows in confusion or fright, but both are so self-consciously heavy, they do nothing but cause heavy sighing and snickering.

The screenplay does take on some requisite twists to be oh-so-surprising (taken from the novel, I imagine), but it's flat and derivative for most of the movie. Especially funny is an attempt at a cat-and-mouse scenario, where our criminal is making poor old Dr. Cross run from point to point in D.C., picking stray phones out of trash cans to get his next instruction. It's a carbon copy of a sequence in Ransom (among other films), and it leads to a loot drop-off clearly stolen from Kurosawa's High and Low. And Moss' idea of a scene transition is Dylan Baker closing every phone contact with the kidnapper by bellowing to police, "OK, people, let's move it!"

Freeman does the best he can with this stuff. He has an excellent knack for hitting a line in a unique way, maybe emphasizing a word that others wouldn't. He tries to seem interested, and keep the mood grave, but this one's just too silly.

Taking over the cutie-pie female role from Ashley Judd is Monica Potter as a dejected Secret Service agent that feels responsible for the kidnapping. She has a beautiful face but minimum acting chops, and between this and the horrific Head Over Heels, she's averaging about one bad movie per month.

So what's next for Dr. Alex Cross if this one takes off? Well, there are five other books, but the latest, First To Die, will become an NBC miniseries. Sounds more appropriate.

Subway driver, let's move!



Along Came A Spider

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th April 2001

Box Office USA: $73.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $70.1M

Budget: $28M

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Production compaines: AZL Productions KG, David Brown Productions, MFP Munich Film Partners, Phase 1 Productions, Revelations Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 32%
Fresh: 39 Rotten: 84

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Alex Cross, as Jezzie Flannigan, as Garry Sone, as Ollie McArthur, as Megan Rose, as Dimitri Storodubov, Jay O. Sanders as Kyle Craig, as Ben Devine, as Senator Hank Rose, as Elizabeth Rose

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.